Americans quit jobs at slightly slower rate in October


The numbers: Roughly 4.2 million workers quit their jobs in October, down slightly from a record 4.4 million in the prior month, the U.S. Labor Department said Wednesday.

The so-called quit rate slipped to 2.8% overall from 3%. while quits for private-sector employees inched down to 3.1% from 3.3%.

The decline in October come after three straight months of record highs.

Key details: The number of job openings across the country, rose to 11 million in October from 10.6 million in the prior month. That’s the second highest level on record.

Job openings rose in accommodation and food services, nondurable manufacturing and education. State and local governments had fewer job openings.

Big picture: More people tend to quit when the economy is doing well or they think they can find a better job. That largely explains the huge increase in people leaving their jobs this year. Companies are boosting pay and benefits.

At the same time, a number of people have retired earlier than expected and others left the workforce over pandemic-related issues.

Many companies complain they cannot find enough workers to keep production going at full tilt and take advantage of strong demand for their goods and services. Millions of people who had jobs before the pandemic still haven’t returned to work.

These labor shortages, along with a scarcity of business supplies, are holding back the U.S. recovery and threatening a broader slowdown unless they relent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average
and the S&P 500
were up slightly in early trading on Wednesday on hopes the omicron variant would not derail the global economy.

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